Saturday, March 28, 2020

On Top Of Everything Else, "Seasonal Flu" Is Now An Epidemic -- CDC -- March 28, 2020

From the March 19, 2020, blog, this screenshot:

Well, well, well .... from the CDC's weekly SEAFLU update just released:

This may be the "second wave" that is common in epidemics. 

This is truly remarkable:
  • this should be the beginning of the end of the "seasonal flu" season, and here we have "seasonal flu" now above the epidemic threshold
  • this was not mentioned during the weekly coronavirus task force update, yesterday (March 27, 2020) update
  • reporters have apparently not noticed this
  • the number of cases per 100,000 actually increased -- again, when the "seasonal flu" season should becoming to an end
    • threshold: 59/100,000 -- above that number it gets my attention
    • previous week, it was 61.6/100,000
    • most recent week: 67.3 / 100,000 -- a nearly 10% increase week over week
  • 222,090 new cases of "seasonal flu" last week -- not being reported by the mainstream press
  • in addition, with social distancing for coronavirus, one would that would help lessen the spread of "seasonal flu"
  • the CDC tells us that "season flu" peaks between December and February, but can last as long as May
  • unlike coronavirus, so far, "seasonal flu" is particularly dangerous to those under four years of age -- see below
  • and ... we have a vaccine for "seasonal flu" -- albeit less than 45% effective
Now, from the CDC, how bad is "seasonal flu" this. Again, from the linked CDC report (most recent week):

Because the CDC put black text on blue background it's hard to read. Here is what the CDC said regarding this year's SEAFLU:
  • worse than most recent seasons
  • rates for children 0 - 4 and adults 18 - 49 are the highest CDC has on record for these age groups;
    • these rates surpass the rates during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic
    • hospitalization rates for school-aged children (5 - 17 years of age) are higher than any recent regular season but remain lower than rats during the 2009 pandemic
    • death rates for children is higher than recorded at the same time in every season since reporting began in 2004 - 05 except for the 2009 pandemic
  • total US flu cases this season: CDC cannot give accurate number -- can only estimate: 
    • nearly 40 million cases
    • 400,000 hospitalizations
    • 24,000 deaths
I find this absolutely incredible. From a medical/scientific point of view, I find it clinically and unemotionally fascinating. In the midst of a coronavirus pandemic which has folks absolutely terrified, this is also one of the worse "seasonal flu" seasons the US has ever had -- and by the time it's over, it may be the worst. If so, few will hear about it because of all the attention Wuhan flu is getting.

My hunch: this post will be picked up by some reporter, and it [the "seasonal flu epidemic] will make the news in a week or so if things get worse ... and, of course, the reporter who picks up on the story will not credit the source. LOL. Just saying. If this is simply a one-time blip, this story will simply die -- "seasonal flu" simply does not have the cachet of COVID-19.

Note: the CDC does not say this explicitly but if one thinks about this, one can go back, read between the lines in the CDC report and consider that's this year's "seasonal flu" numbers are somewhat of a fluke in that "everyone" feeling even the least bit ill is so concerned about coronavirus, they are seeking medical attention and being tested.

In other words, had we not had "coronavirus," we would be in the same situation, but it would been called the 2020 Trump flu epidemic. In many ways, the president was fortunate that the source of his year's coronavirus story came from China, and that he presciently acted early on to ban international flights from China (unlike the Cuomo brothers' stance -- see below). 

In past years, many folks would have simply stayed home, self-medicated with rest, fluids, Tylenol, and "self-quarantining" and never even been seen by health professionals.

By the way, one month ago, ContagionLive suggested the "seasonal flu" season was coming to an end -- again, this was a month ago:

Coronavirus update: the three hot spots in the US right now:
  • Washington State: rates are coming down
  • Louisiana: out of control -- traced back to Mardi Gras 
  • NYC: out of control -- traced back to the mayor and the governor both saying, at the onset of this outbreak, back in February, NYC will remain open to all travelers; welcome visitors; will not shut down:
By January 31, the day President Trump suspended flights from China, “outbreaks were already growing in over 30 cities across 26 countries, most seeded by travelers from Wuhan,” according to one model by the New York Times.
But even by late February, Cuomo boasted about his state’s accessibility to foreign travelers—his state, the governor said on February 26, is the “front door” for visitors from around the world—while only instituting voluntary quarantines for suspected coronavirus carriers.
“Our operating paradigm has always been, prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” Cuomo said.
By the way, NYC is on a trajectory to exceed all of China in number of cases. 

And there we have it. Washington State is winding down, where early on the coronavirus outbreak was pretty much due to one "super-spreader."

One wonders how much "better" the US numbers would have looked if New Orleans would have canceled its Mardi Gras celebrations, and had the Cuomo brothers in New York taken this seriously from the beginning.

Big, big fear: geographical proximity of Louisiana to Houston; the huge inter-mixing of oil workers between the two states (Louisiana and Texas) and the historically close relationship between New Orleans and Houston (Hurricane Katrina diaspora).

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